More than 55,000 properties in Galway have no access to high-speed broadband, and some may not have until 2022, according to Communications Minister Denis Naughten.
A fortnight ago, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources confirmed that the €275m National Broadband Plan will be delayed due to issues with procurement.
The DCENR stated that it remained committed to finding a suitable client for the Irish market, which would safeguard Irish broadband systems, and provide adequate and evolving assurances into the future.
“It is such a complex procedure and a complex contract,” said Minister Naughten, speaking to the Galway Advertiser.
“The department received five tenders involving 40 different companies and there is a large quantity of material.
“We don’t want a legal challenge in relation to an unsuccessful tender because if that happens, it is going to delay the process significantly, so in order to ensure that, the department looked for an extra five months to assess all the documentation.”
This will be of no consolation to rural dwellers or business owners, however, as they may be forced to wait up to five years for the broadband rollout to be completed, as the start date has now been pushed back to mid 2017.
“The contractors are saying publicly that they can roll this out over three years, but it will take somewhere between three and five years to complete the rollout. However, we expect that within two years of signing a contract that 60 per cent of homes in rural Ireland would be connected to high-speed broadband.”